The history of dog groomers emerged during the Roman times. The art of dog grooming started with one particular breed; the poodle. Monuments and tombs during the reign of Emperor Augustus (27 B.C. - A.D. 14), featured canine images that resembled the royal poodles. Poodles were groomed during this era to resemble the king of the beast with their hair clipped, known today, as the lion clip. Poodles, owned by the Roman's elite, were groomed with full hair on the chest and head with a shaved rib cage to the tail and legs. Paintings and tapestries during the fifteenth through the seventeenth centuries, however, illustrates the spaniels, bichons, malteses, as well as the poodle, each groomed with European dignity, as standard as the hunting hound.

The German, for utility rather than style, also groomed their poodles to look like lions. The ancient water dog, a predecessor of the poodle, was the first to have its coat trimmed for beauty and usefulness. Nevertheless, it was the poodle of French royalty that made history for groomer's where they developed the talent and fashion of dog grooming and made it an admired art by the wealthy socialites.

The first professional dogs groomers began their trade in the early 1800s. Attracting Parisian society, dog groomers offering their skills under the brides of Seine; used hand-operated clippers to create patterns into the coats of poodles, and on occasion, other dog breeds. Surviving the French Revolution, dog groomer's continued to groom the royal poodles. By 1890s, royals like Princess Eugenie, wife of Emperor Napoleon III, included her own ideas and created a hairstyle known as the "tonte en macarons". This creative style of flowing spiraling curls sparked a new hair style for poodles known as the "caniche corde" which allowed the curls to twine naturally instead of being clipped.

London dog groomers established fashion salons such as the "Dogs' Toilet Club", where the wealthy would lavish their dogs in egg yolk shampoos, colored powders and massages. The grooming often included outfitting the dogs in cloaks, dressing gowns and jewelry. Taking the dog grooming art a step further, the wealthy would inquire the expertise of R.W. Brown, London's elite dog groomer, where he would clip monograms or the family crest into the royal poodles' coat. By the 1930s, dog grooming emerged as small doggy barbershops consisting of a tub and a few cages. As time pass, so too, did the ownership of dogs and its many breeds and with it the demand for dog grooming as we know it today.

Reference: Mehus-Roe. K. (2005) Dog Bible: The definitive source for all things dog. Laguna Hills: Bowtie Press


Fearful and Anxious Dogs 

Although the majority of dogs appear confident, some can be extremely fearful, anxious or shy.  Sometimes there is no particular reason for this behaviour and it can just be in a dog’s nature; other times a dog can become scared of a particular person, place or activity.  In fact, dogs have phobias or things they are scared of, just like people do, ranging from the vets to fireworks and larger dogs to bicycles.  However, the response from dogs can be much more varied – they may bark, cower and hide, become angry, try to escape their confinements or make a mistake despite their housetraining.

Overriding fear or anxiety in dogs is actually quite rare; although the majority of dogs will bark at a passing object or loud noise that they don’t like, they are quite confident in themselves.  This is due to a mix of natural instincts and proper socialisation.  Socialisation is the key to building confidence in your dog – without it they won’t know what to expect when they go out into the big, wide world.  It is also extremely easy to do and provides a great bonding experience for you both – simply take your dog to meet different people, hear different noises and see different places.

Sometimes however there is simply nothing that can be done to stop a dog developing a fear of something.  This is where a dog requires treatment to build their confidence and help them to realise there is nothing to be scared of.  To do this you will need to start socialising your dog, although it may need to be done more slowly than you would do if they were a puppy.  Introduce them to people and places that they may not be familiar with but be sure not to keep reassuring them as they will see you as a protector and guardian.  Offer the occasional treat and praise so that they know they are doing well and, if possible, allow them to take the lead.  Whatever you do, do not punish your dog in any way as this will only serve in making them more anxious.  Let them make their own mistakes and their own discoveries so that they can build their confidence.

If you know the root cause of your dog’s fear then you can use the same method in a slightly different way.  Among behaviour experts the process is known as desensitisation because it removes the need or tendency to be scared of a certain place, object or person.  For example, if your dog is scared of push bikes, take them to an area where you frequently see bikes.  Allow them to see them from afar, then return the next day and move slightly closer, repeating this process until you can approach someone on a bike with ease.  While doing this offer the occasional treat for good behaviour but, as mentioned above, don’t protect them and do not punish them.

In some cases dogs can experience extreme anxiety which can result in adverse health problems.  This may lead your vet to prescribe anti-anxiety pills and refer you to an animal behaviour expert who can help train your dog in the correct way.  In these extreme cases a lot of work may be required but it is worth persisting as it will improve your dog’s life and your own

 Fleas, Worms and Other Parasites

Parasites such as fleas and worms can affect any dog at any stage in its life, no matter how carefully you groom it.  They can quickly affect your dog, causing changes to its skin and coat and causing severe discomfort.  While external parasites are often the most common and most discussed, parasites which affect the inside of a dog are also problematic.  They can often be more serious than internal parasites, seriously damaging your dog’s health and possibly causing health problems for your family too.

These reasons make it extremely important that you treat your dog regularly.  A product such as Drontal Plus for Dogs will help to safeguard against certain worms while a regular treatment with a product such as Frontline Spot On will help to ward off fleas.  While these are general treatments, it is important to recognise the effect other parasites can have, as well as how to treat them.  This section will first look at the less understood internal parasites, as well as how they can cause problems in humans if they are transferred.



Tapeworms begin with a flea infestation.  They are ingested as larvae and enter a dog’s digestive system.  They then grow into worms and eat whatever is in the dog’s intestines.  This will make your dog feel hungry and want to eat constantly.  As the tapeworms grow they form a long chain made up of segments which can be seen in your dog’s faeces and around the anus.  To remove this problem you need to rid your dog of fleas, and then treat with a wormer to ensure the problem has been resolved.


The larvae of this worm are carried by slugs and snails and then ingested by dogs.  Once this occurs they move towards the heart and develop into adult worms, which then affect the circulation.  This will cause your dog to cough a lot and may also lead to breathing problems.  The eggs of these worms often come up when the dog coughs.  Regular treatment for lungworm using a worming product is essential as it can be fatal if left alone.


Dogs get roundworm by ingesting the eggs which then grow inside the stomach and intestines.  If your dog has this infection there are several symptoms which may indicate it.  They may experience vomiting and diarrhoea, pass worms in their mess or have a pot belly.  Roundworm can be simply treated using a product such as the Bob Martin All in One Dewormer every six months.



The most common and well-known infestation to affect dogs, fleas are easy to identify.  As you soon as you see your dog has fleas you should treat them as they can bite you and move onto your furniture.  Fleas will bite your dog and suck on its blood, causing irritation and making your pet scratch frequently, which can be heightened if your dog is allergic to fleas.  As discussed in the internal parasites section (see above), fleas are the start of a tapeworm infestation so it is essential they are treated immediately.

As fleas are a common problem, there are many ways to get rid of them.  Using a shampoo such as the Vetzyme JDS Insecticidal Dog Flea Shampoo will initially help to kill them off.  You can then use a flea comb to ensure they all out of your dog’s fur.  After this, a regular flea treatment such as Frontline Spot On should be used to prevent re-infestation.


One of the most varied types of parasite that can affect dogs is mites.  They come in four types that all affect the dog in different ways.  It’s not too important to remember the names, but identifying the effect they have on your dog will help you select the right treatment.

The first type of mite you may encounter is called a harvest mite.  They are barely visible and most commonly affect the feet of dogs, causing irritation.  You should check for these mites if your pet keep licking or biting their feet.  To remove the mites, a veterinary grade shampoo will suffice.

Another form of mite is the Cheyletiella which is also barely visible.  If you can see them, they will look like dandruff and cause the skin to flake.  Unlike most mites they have a long life cycle so a veterinary shampoo should be used over a longer period to ensure the infestation has gone.

The other two forms of mite come under the banner of mange mites.  The first is called a demodetic mites and it affects the route of the fur.  Your dog may not experience much irritation but small, puss-filled lesions may occur.  The sarcoptic mite is actually found under the skin, most commonly around the eyes and ears.  Out of all the mites they cause the most irritation, which leads to scratching, hair loss and lesions.  To treat mange mites you may need to visit a vet first to get a diagnosis.  Veterinary shampoos can then be used until the infection is cleared up.


Identifying lice on your dog’s skin should be relatively simple as they are fat insects with no wings that come in two forms.  Sucking lice will burrow under the skin and feed on tissue fluids while biting lice chew the skin.  Nits are the eggs of lice that stick to the hair, causing your dog irritation.  Like other parasites, lice can be treated with a suitable shampoo as well as a product such as Frontline Spot On.


Most commonly found during the warmer months, ticks usually attach themselves to a dog in fields.  They feast on the dog’s blood until they are full, sometimes swelling to the size of a pea, making them easily visible.  Ticks can be found around the feet after the dog has walked through grass or on the head area after the dog has been sniffing.  It is vital that humans do not touch these ticks as they can carry Lyme disease which can cause serious problems for humans.

Again, a treatment such as Frontline Spot On can be used to kill ticks.  In other cases, a pair of tweezers can be used to pull them off your dog.  It is recommended that you twist the ticks out, rather than pulling them.  This is so that the whole mouth comes out, reducing the risk of infection.


Ringworm is in fact a fungal condition that affects the skin, and can affect both dogs and humans.  It is identified as a small patch on the skin, usually a small red ring.  It may look rather nasty but often causes little irritation to the dog.  If you see this condition on your pet, it is wise to confirm the condition with a vet.  An anti-fungal cream or tablet will help to clear up the condition.

Ear Mites

Affecting the ears, these lightly coloured mites can often be seen in the ear wax.  If your dog starts to shake its head or scratch its ears more often, ear mites may be the cause.  To clear these mites, simply clean the ear using something like the Bob Martin Ear and Eye Wipes and then use a product such as Thornit Ear Powder to remove the mites.
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 Extend Your Dog's Life Using These Simple Grooming Tips

If your dog is an important part of your life, you will want to provide the best of care for her so she can enjoy a long and rewarding life. A trip or two each year to your veterinary clinic does not guarantee that your loyal canine will maintain her healthy appearance and youthful spirit. It is you, the dog's owner, who can make the difference between your dog living a long, full life or one of physical disease and health problems.

Many dogs are treated like they are immune from common heath problems - they are NOT! They suffer many of the same health issues that afflict humans; teeth and gum disease, ear infections, toe nail problems, and hair issues, just to name a few.

Well, don't get discouraged, because a few simple and easy grooming practices can help you prevent the premature aging of your pet. Basic personal dog grooming is the key to early recognition of skin and tumor issues, dental problems, and mobility difficulties.

To help you establish a regular dog grooming regimen, the following tips are provided covering five key areas; brushing, bathing, nail trimming, ear cleaning, and dental hygiene.

Brushing Your Dog

Brushing, or grooming, your dog is a great time for bonding with her and providing the physical contact that all dogs desire. This practice promotes a lustrous shine on the dog's coat, whiling eliminating dirt, debris, and dead fur.

This is also the perfect opportunity to examine your dog's skin for fleas and ticks, lumps, cuts, or contusions. And while you're at it, take a moment and examine her ears, eyes, teeth and nails.

Bathing Your Dog

Here is the good news - most dogs only need bathing once a month, unless she likes to play in the rain and mud. If she does get dirty on a regular basis, adjust your bathing schedule accordingly.

A prerequisite to bathing is a good brushing. This loosens up any dead hair or dirt and makes the bathing process much more productive. A good practice is to start bathing your dog as young as possible. Generally start when she is about 14-15 weeks old, or earlier, if they tend to get into messy situations.

Find a good location to bathe your dog, preferably one that is contained and has good drainage. Undoubtedly, water will be spilled or shaken near and far. An enclosed shower or tub is an ideal location, or if your dog is a smaller breed, the kitchen sink can also work.

Wet your dog thoroughly, avoiding her head to keep water out of her eyes and ears. Plug your dog's ears with cotton balls if there is a risk of flooding the ears. Use a dog shampoo and lather up the dog. Be sure to rinse thoroughly and squeeze off the excess water. The face should be washed with a soft, damp cloth. Towel dry your dog, and blow dry if desired, but it is best to keep her confined until dry.

Trimming Nails

Nail trimming can be a traumatic experience for some dogs. So, it is best to start the nail trimming experience as early as 2-3 months old to let your dog become accustomed to the practice. For puppies, you can often use finger nail clippers to tip the ends of the nails.

If this is just too much for your dog or puppy to handle all in one sitting, you may start with trimming only one paw at a time, giving your dog an extended break between sessions. The key to successful nail trimming is providing your dog lots of praise when she lets you cut a nail. Kind, soothing words of praise will let her know that she is loved and this experience is nothing to fear. Of course, a few dog treats after the session is over can't hurt either.

Cleaning Ears

Inspect your dog's ears often, but only clean them when there is evidence of dirt in the opening or canal. Use a cotton ball, never a cotton swab, to clean the dirt out of the ear. Soaking the cotton ball with a good ear cleaning solution provides the best results. Hydrogen peroxide can be substituted for the cleaning solution, if necessary.

If you notice that the dog's ears are red, swollen, or emit a foul smell, the problem might be more serious and demand veterinary attention. Yeast infections, ear mites, and other ear problems are more easily treated by medications only available from your vet.

Keeping a Bright Smile

As a dog's life span has been extended over the years, it is even more imperative that your dog maintain healthy teeth and gum tissue. You can assist her by brushing her teeth regularly. Start as early in life as possible, to get your dog accustomed to the feel of your finger or brush in her mouth.

Starting with your finger, or a special dog toothbrush fitted for your fingertip, begin massaging your dog's gums and gently rubbing her teeth. Once she has become accustomed to the practice, try using a dog toothbrush, or small soft bristled human toothbrush, with dog-specific toothpaste. Never use toothpaste designed for humans on your dog.

Continuing this practice throughout your dog's life will ensure that she will avoid gum disease, loose teeth, and related eating problems.

These easy-to-follow grooming tips take very little time compared to the years of enjoyment your dog will provide you and your family. Take care of your loving "best friend" and she will certainly return the favor many times over!


Grooming Your Dog

Ever watched your dog roll on the ground, lick her coat or chew at a mat on her fur? These are her ways of keeping clean. Sometimes, though, she’ll need a little extra help from her friend to look her best.

Make Grooming as Enjoyable as Possible-For the Both of You!

Grooming sessions should always be fun, so be sure to schedule them when your dog’s relaxed, especially if she’s the excitable type. Until your pet is used to being groomed, keep the sessions short-just 5 to 10 minutes. Gradually lengthen the time until it becomes routine for your dog. You can help her get comfortable with being touched and handled by making a habit of petting every single part of your dog, including such potentially sensitive areas as the ears, tail, belly, back and feet.

And here’s one of our most important tips of all-pile on the praise and offer your pooch a treat when the session is finished!


Regular grooming with a brush or comb will help keep your pet’s hair in good condition by removing dirt, spreading natural oils throughout her coat, preventing tangles and keeping her skin clean and irritant-free. And grooming time’s a great time to check for fleas and flea dirt--those little black specks that indicate your pet is playing host to a flea family.

If your dog has a smooth, short coat (like that of a chihuahua, boxer or basset hound), you only need to brush once a week:

  • First, use a rubber brush to loosen dead skin and dirt.
  • Next, use a bristle brush to remove dead hair.
  • Now, polish your low-maintenance pooch with a chamois cloth and she’s ready to shine!

If your dog has short, dense fur that’s prone to matting, like that of a retriever, here’s your weekly routine:

  • Use a slicker brush to remove tangles.
  • Next, catch dead hair with a bristle brush.
  • Don’t forget to comb her tail.

If your dog has a long, luxurious coat, such as that of a Yorkshire terrier, she’ll need daily attention:

  • Every day you’ll need to remove tangles with a slicker brush.
  • Gently tease mats out with a slicker brush.
  • Next, brush her coat with a bristle brush.
  • If you have a long-haired dog with a coat like a collie’s or an Afghan hound’s, follow the steps above, and also be sure to comb through the fur and trim the hair around the hocks and feet.


The ASPCA recommends bathing your dog every 3 months or so; your pet may require more frequent baths in the summertime if she spends lots of time with your outdoors. Always use a mild shampoo that’s safe to use on dogs, and follow these easy steps:

  • First, give your pet a good brushing to remove all dead hair and mats.
  • Place a rubber bath mat in the bathtub to provide secure footing, and fill the tub with about 3 to 4 inches of lukewarm water.
  • Use a spray hose to thoroughly wet your pet, taking care not to spray directly in her ears, eyes or nose. If you don’t have a spray hose, a large plastic pitcher or unbreakable cup will do.
  • Gently massage in shampoo, working from head to tail.
  • Thoroughly rinse with a spray hose or pitcher; again, avoid the ears, eyes and nose.
  • Check the ears for any foul odors or excessive debris; if you choose to use a cleansing solution on a cotton ball, take care not to insert it into the ear canal.
  • Dry your pet with a large towel or blow dryer, but carefully monitor the level of heat.

Please note: Some animals seem to think that bathtime is a perfect time to act goofy. Young puppies especially will wiggle and bounce all over the place while you try to brush them, and tend to nip at bathtime. If this sounds like your pet, put a toy that floats in the tub with her so she can focus on the toy rather than on mouthing you.

Preventing separation-related behaviour


Learning to be left alone

One of the most effective ways of preventing your dog from ever becoming anxious when he is left alone is to teach him right from the start that being alone is fun! To do this you need to very gradually increase the time that you leave your dog alone so that it is never frightening and always associated with something pleasant.

The speed that you progress will depend on your dog’s reaction. Never leave your dog so long that he/she starts to become distressed.

N.B. If you do have to go out and leave your dog for long periods of time as soon as you bring him/her home, arrange for friends or family to help out for a while.

  • Reward your dog for being relaxed when left alone.  Rewards can be toys, treats or praise - a long lasting treat is ideal as you can tell that your dog is worried if it leaves something that he/she would normally enjoy munching. If your dog becomes anxious and does not remain quietly in his/her bed eating the treat, do not offer a reward. Instead simply go back a stage and try leaving him/her for a shorter period next time.
  • Repeat each of the following stages until you are sure your dog is happy before progressing. How quickly you progress depends on how well your dog responds.
  1. Start by encouraging your dog to go to his/her bed and stay there with you present for a short while. Reward your dog for remaining quietly in the bed.
  2. Next ask your dog to stay in his/her bed as you move away, then return and reward.
  3. Move progressively further away and for longer. The distance/time that you increase by on each occasion will depend on your dog. If your dog reacts or moves then don’t reward but go back to the previous stage.
  4. Start going out through the door before returning, then going out and shutting the door, then going out for longer periods of time. When you get to this point start to vary the length of time that you are out.
  5. Once you reach the stage where your dog is happy to be left for up to an hour you should then have no problems leaving him/her for longer periods. To avoid boredom which may lead to mischief remember to give your dog something to occupy him/herself whilst you are out!

Prevent your dog from becoming bored

There are a number of things that you can do to give your dog something to occupy him/herself whilst you are away.

  • Leave a safe, suitable toy/bone with your dog when you go out. Make sure that this is a ‘special’ toy by only making it available to your dog when you go out or when he/she is separated from you in another room in the house.
  • Try to leave something that your dog really loves such as a ‘Kong’ stuffed with food (peanut butter or cheese mixed with dog biscuits are usually popular) or a meat-flavoured chew.
  • Give your dog a treat ball or cube that you can fill with dried treats – your dog will have to work to get them out.
  • All of these things will give your dog mental stimulation and prevent him/her from becoming bored.
  • It’s important that any treats must be taken out of your dog’s daily food allowance as overfeeding can lead to obesity which can cause serious health and welfare concerns.
  • Remember that when you return home these ‘special’ items should be put away again and only given to your dog when you go out, or when you are in a different room in the house.

Feeding and exercise

Your dog will be more inclined to relax when left alone if he/she has had an appropriate amount of exercise and been fed before you go out.

  • Try to always exercise your dog before leaving him/her. Take your dog for a walk, returning home half an hour before you are due to leave.
  • Feed your dog a small meal shortly before leaving.
  • Always ensure that your dog goes to the toilet before being left alone.

Avoid all punishment

If your dog misbehaves while you are out it is vital that you do not react badly when you come home. Separation-related behaviour problems get worse when owners punish their dogs on their return!

This is because the punishment will be linked with your return rather than the destruction, barking or toileting carried out some time previously. Your dog will then become anxious about what you will do when you return the next time he/she is left alone. As a result of this increased anxiety the dog is more likely to chew or lose toilet control, making the problem even worse.

Many dogs who have been punished in the past when their owners returned will show submission in an attempt to appease their owners. They make themselves as small as possible, putting their ears back and their tail between their legs. Unfortunately owners often think that the dogs look guilty and punish them because they “know they have done wrong”. Even if you take your dog to the scene of the crime, he/she will not be able to associate your anger with his/her behaviour hours earlier – your dog will simply become more anxious the next time you go out.

The RSPCA only recommends the use of positive, reward-based training methods.

Although it is not easy, if you do find a mess when you come home, it is essential that you never physically punish or shout at your dog. Try to even avoid letting your dog see that you are annoyed – let him/her outside before cleaning up.

Acknowledgement for this information is made to Dr Rachel Casey, Dr Emily Blackwell and Dr John Bradshaw.